Applications are now being accepted for Richmond's newest charter school aimed at helping those with disabilities find jobs. Demand is expected to be high, with only 10 spots open.
For the Graves family, having two children with autism isn't always easy. Their oldest has a more severe form of the disorder.
"He went through having bad temper tantrums and right now he has a crisis counselor that goes to school with him everyday," says Paulette Graves, their mother.
Paulette says she jumped at the chance to learn about the new Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy. The goal of the charter school is to make sure students with intellectual abilities get jobs after high school.
"My concern was how many teachers will be there, will they have a crisis counselor," says Graves. "You can't teach an autistic child the same way you teach a Down Syndrome child."
Richmond Public Schools' Director of Exceptional Education and Special Services, Michelle Boyd, to learn more.
"Our outcome is employment, employment, employment that is the goal," says Boyd.
The new charter school will open this September in a wing of George Wythe High School. There are only ten spots right now, school leaders say up to 400 people could apply. Boyd says the students will have a variety of disabilities, but she says the two teachers and instructional assistant will be able to handle it.
"Disabilities manifest themselves in various ways in individuals," says Boyd. "Our goal truly is to make the program individualized for the student and to be student centered and to have the program meet their needs."
Boyd says if parents have any concerns they need to contact her department at 804-780-7911 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She says that kind of dialogue is the only way parents will know if this new charter school is a good fit.
Graves tells me her sons will stay at their current school because she doesn't want to bring any major changes to their set up at this time.
Students for the new charter school will be picked through a lottery system. Applications will be accepted through August 8.
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